Are you struggling to hold your bladder on the way to the bathroom? Do you feel sore or tight during sex? Chances are you're experiencing the onset of menopause. Every woman has to deal with menopause at some stage in their life; for most, menopause kicks in around the mid-40s to mid-50s.
Understanding the Effects of Menopause on Your Sexual Health
Menopause describes the period in your life when your body naturally stops producing estrogen. The process can take up to a decade to complete, and during this time, you'll deal with the effects of the transition on your body and mind.
Over the years, the slow depletion of estrogen causes "vaginal atrophy" in menopausal women.
Vaginal Atrophy Explained
This condition occurs in menopausal women due to the drop in estrogen production. Otherwise known as atrophic vaginitis or genitourinary syndrome and describes the thinning and tightening of the vaginal walls, resulting in pain during penetrative sex.
The drop in estrogen also affects the cervical gland at the back of the vagina. The primary function of this gland is to secrete lubricant in preparation for sex. However, the drop in estrogen caused by menopause slows down the production of this secretion, leading to vaginal dryness.
Other symptoms of menopause on sexual health include the following.
- Itching, burning, and severe irritation
- Strange discharge
- Increased risk of developing UTIs or BV
- Frequency in urination
- Urinary incontinence
- Yeast infections
- Bleeding and discomfort during or after intercourse
- Tightening and shortening of the vaginal canal
While it's common for menopausal women to develop vaginal dryness, it can also occur in younger women., Lifestyle choices like drinking alcohol and smoking can cause the problem, as can breastfeeding or postpartum recovery.
Vaginal Dryness Explained
Vaginal dryness is a result of lowered estrogen production and cervical secretions. Women experiencing vaginal dryness notice a significant amount of irritation during the day. Some find it so annoying that they can't wear tight clothing or underwear because the itching and burning sensation is so severe and increases when in contact with clothing.
Vaginal dryness makes sex painful and can cause women to withdraw from sexual activity with their partner, stressing the relationship. Vaginal dryness also increases the risk of developing infections like candida and bacterial vaginosis.
Urinary Incontinence Explained
This condition describes your inability to hold your pee on the way to the bathroom. Or you might finish peeing and not feel like you emptied your bladder. Incontinence is frustrating, embarrassing, and a common side effect of menopause and childbirth.
Estrogen – The Link Between Menopause, Dryness, Incontinence, & Menopause
To experience relief from the symptoms of menopause, like incontinence and dryness, you'll need to raise estrogen levels. Several strategies to do this naturally include eating foods containing phytoestrogens and using lubricants. Here are some other tips to help you manage the effects of menopause.
Stay hydrated during the day and sip on water. Avoid alcohol as much as possible and consider quitting smoking if you indulge in tobacco products. Clean up your diet and focus on including more estrogen-rich foods.
These changes can impact your sexual health, but chances are they won't completely resolve issues of incontinence and dryness. To experience lasting relief, you'll need to get your estrogen levels back to the normal range, and these simple strategies alone aren't enough to do the job.
While sex can be painful when vaginal atrophy sets in, you can delay the tightening and thinning of the vaginal walls by maintaining regular sexual intercourse. Sex keeps the vaginal walls supple and the cervical gland working.
Sex improves circulation to the pelvis and vagina, relieving symptoms of menopause. However, the drop in estrogen eventually causes vaginal atrophy in all women, and sex becomes painful.
Try some Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and relieve your incontinence. Kegels are easy to do at home, and you only need to practice for ten to 15 minutes a day to see results.
Kegels restore the health and function of the pelvic floor, allowing you to hold your pee while you get to the bathroom. However, in severe cases of urinary incontinence, the patient may need medication or surgery to rectify the problem.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
The most common treatment for menopause-induced vaginal dryness and urinary incontinence is hormone replacement. HRT involves using exogenous estrogen to improve hormone levels in your body.
Your doctor may prescribe estrogen creams, tablets, or insertable rings to help you increase estrogen levels into the normal range. HRT is incredibly effective at improving the signs of menopause, and many women experience complete relief from all their symptoms after they finalize the correct dose.
However, HRT does have risks. It can increase the chance of developing cancer or heart disease. Some women also experience minor side effects from using the medication that lowers their quality of life instead of improving it.
Try Lubracil to Alleviate Vaginal Dryness
HRT isn't suitable for all women. Some might have an adverse response to the treatment and can't seem to get the right medication dose to rectify their problems. While this reaction is rare, it results in women trying to find natural solutions to menopause symptoms.
Lubricants are a popular strategy to improve lubrication of the vagina during sex. You can order lubricants from sex shops or Amazon, and they're available in silicone-based, water-based, and oil-based options.
Then you have vaginal moisturizers and creams that last a bit longer. However, while these solutions provide immediate results, they don't last and eventually wear off, leaving you feeling dry. There's only one remedy to vaginal dryness offering sustainable results – Lubracil.
Lubracil is a patented extract of sea buckthorn oil. It's a rich source of all four essential fatty acids and contains a serving of vitamin E. The ingredients help increase hydration levels in the vaginal walls, improving natural secretions by the cervix gland.
This oral supplement comes in two soft gel capsules you take every day. There's no lubricant to apply; just take your daily dose, and you'll experience relief from dryness in as little as two weeks.